After Man Tries To Break Into Teen Girl’s Hotel Room, Shares How She Scared Him Off

When you’re staying at a hotel people may try to enter the room when you don’t want them to. This is scarier if you’re a woman traveling alone, but it doesn’t need to be something nefarious, though it certainly can be. And it’s why you should always use all of the locks provided to you.

At the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman housekeeping once came in on me while I was getting dressed for a presentation, though I had the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. I failed to use the deadbolt or latch. I’ve had people try to come into my room – and fail – late at night, because the deadbolt was turned.

Sometimes a hotel will give a guest that’s checking in a key to the wrong – already occupied – room. Yours. I’ve been on the other end of this, too, walking into a room where no one was there but a guest’s “stuff” was clearly strewn about. It was back down to the front desk and an apology. Odds on the guest staying in the room was none the wiser, since they didn’t see me open the door.

A 15 year old girl had a ‘sketchy’ man try to enter her room when she was alone at the Hilton Ocean City Oceanfront Suites.

Four years later she shared the story in a new viral TikTok that’s been viewed over 4 million times. She says one phrase saved her and scared away the intruder.

She went to shower while her family was out at the beach. Alone in her room, she heard noises and saw a tool being used to open her door. She said the man on the other side of the door claimed to be “services” as though he worked for the hotel, but wasn’t wearing a uniform. He needed ‘to fix the door’.

My main thought was holy s*** I’m in a towel right now and someone is about to break in, and get me. So the door opens a crack, and I just slammed it back shut. And put the deadbolt on.

…I didn’t have time to process anything, but my main thought was I’m in a towel I’m literally naked and do they have weapons, if I stop them are they going to get mad, hurt me? I wasn’t really sure of the situation. I was only 15. I wasn’t thinking that fast.


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Her story continues here, here, here, and here.

So how did she get rid of the intruder? “I yelled ‘hey dad, there’s someone here to fix the door.’ As soon as they thought that I wasn’t alone, and potentially my dad was there. They ran, they were gone.”

According to Hilton,

At Hilton, the safety of our guests and our guests’ experiences is our top priority. We are committed to providing exceptional experiences and in the event a stay experience falls short of this commitment, we encourage our guests to contact the hotel or Hilton Customer Care so that we may address any concerns in a timely manner.

This could happen at any hotel. And you’re never 100% safe from professional intruders in your room, either – someone skilled enough can overcome the provided locks. However most people are going to have a problem with a deadbolt. That is going to keep out someone who isn’t malicious but coming in by mistake. And more locks slows them down while you call for help, too.

Unquestionably, though, letting the person on the other side of the door think you aren’t alone is a great strategy too!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve witnessed hotel security open deadbolts in a matter of seconds. For those with the proper tools and training it’s quite easy. This is why I really do not like connecting rooms.

  2. In most hotels, the deadbolt is tied to the handle for ADA compliance reasons. If an intruder using a tool similar to the one described above can pull the handle/lever, the deadbolt will also unlock. Deadbolts are NOT a security device in a hotel room. See videos by Deviant Ollam, who runs a penetration testing firm for examples.
    The actual solution is a plastic device which blocks the handle from above and below so it can only be accessed from directly in front.

  3. Jason, the deadbolts may not stop the intruder, but they will slow the process down.

  4. One thought: When my wife was mugged on a street in Philadelphia she yelled “Fire”, figuring a crowd would gather to see one. (The man trying to grab her purse was chased off by a passerby.) Now doing that in a hotel might start a panic, but it sure would get people’s attention more than a scream or shout of “Stop.” Neighbors might think it’s just a couple playing around.

  5. Her quick thinking reminds me of my great idea for a security alarm. Instead of a siren sound, it would play a woman’s voice from upstairs saying in a stage whisper:

    “Larry put that thing away! You’re just gonna end up shooting yourself.”

  6. I think in this case just saying anything would scare an intruder away. The intruder was clearly interested in entering the room with no one inside to steal rather than hurting someone. (And one can make a TikTok posting from nothing).

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